The Women's Collection at the Northwestern University Library is like the triathlete: it attempts to engage in that which only extraordinary people or fools try. Like the triathlete, it is sustained by the goal it has set for itself. The Women's Collection documents the activities of activists in the women's liberation movement by collecting materials generated by these activists. The "engagement" or involvement of the curator of the collection is critical to this enterprise, because of the nature of the work. In addition to preservation, which will not be discussed here, there are four primary areas of activity which are necessary to the success of the collection, and each of these activities requires unorthodox solutions and behaviors which, in turn contribute to a heightened sense of tension. (One way I have dealt with the tension is to become firmer in my resolve regarding the value of the mission. Viewing the collection as "triathlete" has intensified, in turn, my attachment to "engagement.")



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